Former Chief Justice: court laws amendment is a slap in CJEU's face
The latest amendment to court laws signed by the president is a provocation and a slap in the EU Court of Justice's face - former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Adam Strzembosz said on Wednesday.
At a press conference organised by the Committee for the Defense of Democracy (KOD) in front of the Supreme Court, professor Strzembosz commented on the latest amendment to court laws signed on Tuesday (February 4th) by President Andrzej Duda. He called the law "a provocation". "It's basically a slap in the face of the Court of Justice of the EU in Luxembourg. It was there where they stated clearly which institution may be treated as a court" - he stressed. According to professor Strzembosz, sooner or later the legislation will be suspended. He added that the way out of this situation was easy, and proposed looking at the draft law prepared by the Senate.
Asked if the enacted law was a classic case of violation of the separation of powers rule, he said that this principle has been violated in Poland for five years now.
Professor Strzembosz also said that, in his view, the decision, made by the Supreme Court's Disciplinary Chamber, to suspend judge Paweł Juszczyszyn from Olsztyn, was unlawful and absolutely unjustifiable.
When examining an appeal in a civil case in November 2019, judge Juszczyszyn from District Court in Olsztyn found it necessary to settle whether or not a judge nominated by the current KRS (National Council of the Judiciary) had been allowed to pass rulings in the first instance court. In his decision, he ordered the Chancellery of the Sejm to reveal the names of judges who had signed the support lists for judges-candidates to the KRS. He quoted the ruling by CJEU from November 19th, which had questioned the new judiciary chamber's independence from political influence.
As a result, the chief of the Olsztyn court and member the KRS judge Maciej Nawacki suspended judge Juszczyszyn for one month, the longest suspension that can be imposed by a court president. Now, the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court suspended judge Juszczyszyn again.
Professor Strzembosz said at the press conference that the Disciplinary Chamber wasn't legally qualified to serve as a Polish court. "The Disciplinary Chamber is neither a part of the Supreme Court, nor it is a legally functioning court" - said the former Chief Justice.
He also underscored that the chairman of this chamber, as well as its judges, do not report to the Supreme Court's Chief Justice and cannot be transferred to other chambers. "The chamber has a separate budget , separate administration, financial structure, and operates fully outside the Supreme Court. Therefore, we're dealing with a separate court, a special court, and according to the constitution, special court cannot function in Poland unless martial law has been imposed" - professor Adam Strzembosz said.
He stressed that further functioning of this chamber is - in his opinion - a criminal conduct.
Signed into law
On Tuesday, President Andrzej Duda signed the amendment to the Law on Common Courts and the Law on the Supreme Court. The law will become effective (except for two provisions) after seven days after being published in the Journal of Laws.
The signed amendment introduces, among other things, changes in the procedure of appointing Supreme Court's Chief Justice. Candidates for this position will now may be put forward by each Supreme Court Justice. In case of problems with choosing candidates due to a lack of quorum, presence of 32 Justices will be enough to render the vote valid.
Furthermore, the law stipulates that if candidates for Chief Justice would be chosen not in line with the rules mentioned in the act, the president "immediately appoints a Supreme Court Justice of his choice as acting Chief Justice".
Źródło: TVN24 News in English,
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24